Vietnam to enter Asian Cup without key defender

By Hieu Luong   November 6, 2023 | 04:52 pm PT
Star Vietnam defender Doan Van Hau will miss the Asian Cup next year when he goes to Singapore for heel surgery which may require up to six months of recovery.
Doan Van Hau (in red) plays in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers between Vietnam and UAE in June 2021. Photo by VnEpxress/Lam Thoa

Doan Van Hau (number 5) plays in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers between Vietnam and UAE in June 2021. Photo by VnEpxress/Lam Thoa

Hau suffered an enthesitis injury in his right heel and was put on the injured list for three to six months. His most recent game was the last game of the 2023 V. League season on Aug. 27, in which his club Cong An Hanoi drew Thanh Hoa FC 1-1 to win the title.

He has not played since then and also had to skip training with the Vietnam national team.

During his time off the pitch Hau has focused on planning his wedding with his fiancé Doan Hai My, which is scheduled for Nov. 11. After the nuptials, CANH will send Hau to Singapore for treatment on the club’s dime.

If it only takes Hau three months to recover, he will miss 11 V. League rounds next season.

As for his position on the national team, he will miss two World Cup qualifying games against the Philippines and Iraq in November, as well as all of the Asian Cup in Qatar in January next year.

In the worst case, Hau might be out for six months and miss at least 22 V. League rounds, along with Vietnam’s entire World Cup second qualifying round campaign, which will end on June 11, 2024.

Hau previously suffered a torn external meniscus in his right knee in September 2020. He was then injured again in the second qualifying round of the 2022 World Cup in June 2021 and had to go to South Korea for surgery. He returned in July 2022.

Hau has been considered the best left-back in Vietnam since 2018.

His absence is sure to weaken both CAHN and the national team.

National squad head coach Philippe Troussier will choose between three candidates to fill the left-back position: Vo Minh Trong (Becamex Binh Duong), Phan Tuan Tai (Viettel FC) and Trieu Viet Hung (Hai Phong FC).

Hau, 24, joined V-League club Hanoi FC in 2017, where he won six domestic titles between 2018 and 2022, including two V. Leagues, two National Cups in 2020 and 2022, and National Super Cup in 2019 and 2021.

In the 2019-2020 season, Hau was transferred to SC Heerenveen and became the first Vietnamese player to play in the Dutch national championship Eredivisie. But he only had one appearance at the National Cup. In 2023, he signed with CAHN and won the V-League in his first season there.

On the national team, Hau has been a key factor in all Vietnamese football triumphs since 2016, including the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup qualification, a 2018 U23 Asian Cup runner-up placement, the 2018 AFF Cup title, the 2019 SEA Games gold medal and the squad’s advancement to the third qualifying round of the 2022 World Cup.

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